Show Summary Details

Quick Reference


The act of going through a marriage ceremony with someone when one is already lawfully married to someone else (Offences Against the Person Act 1861 s 57). Bigamy is a crime, punishable by up to seven years' imprisonment; however, there is a defence if the accused honestly and reasonably believed that his or her first spouse was dead or that their previous marriage had been dissolved or annulled or was void. There is also a special defence if the accused's spouse has been absent for at least seven years, and is therefore presumed by the accused to be dead, even if he does not have positive proof of the death. Even though a person is found not guilty of the crime of bigamy, the bigamous marriage will still be void if that person had a spouse living at the time that the second marriage was celebrated.

Subjects: Law.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.